China to launch new marine surveillance satellites
Beijing: China today said it will launch a new “constellation” of marine surveillance satellites in 2019 to monitor ships, oil rigs and marine disasters, amidst a string of raging maritime disputes with its neighbours.
The HY-3 “constellation” will include a series of satellites that employ synthetic aperture radar technology, “capable of operating day or night and in all weather conditions,” Lin Mingsen, deputy director with the National Satellite Ocean Application Service said.
The satellites will be able to see and monitor meter-long objects from space and generate high-definition imagery of both land and ocean surfaces, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Lin as saying.
He said the satellites would be used to monitor ships and drilling platforms, in addition to marine oil spills, sea ice, ocean waves and surface winds among other features.
“They will play an important role in reinforcing China’s marine rights protection, marine law enforcement and supervision, management of its offshore waters and marine disaster relief and reduction,” Lin said.
China is grappling to deal with maritime disputes in South and East China seas involving a host of countries.
While Vietnam, Phlippines, Malaysia and Brunei are contesting China’s claim over all of South China Sea, it is also involved in a major maritime row in East China Sea with Japan over the disputed islands.
The new plan was announced as China for the first time began releasing high definition pictures of its Gaofen-2 satellite launched in August this year which transmitted pictures with good clarity.
Yesterday, China also completed a runway for military aircrafts on a disputed South China sea island also claimed by Vietnam.
Last month China announced plans to build an earth observation system that integrates use of air, space and ground based technology, including drones, satellites and GPS systems in the next ten years.